Parliaments are key stakeholders in the promotion and achievement of gender equality. Parliamentary oversight processes provide and opportunity to ensure that governments maintain commitments to gender equality. While women parliamentarians have often assumed responsibility for this oversight, many parliaments are taking a more holistic approach by establishing dedicated mechanisms and systematic processes across all policy areas to mainstream the advancement of gender equality.
The oversight role of parliamentarians is linked to the very notion of external accountability, the democratic control of the government by the parliament, among other bodies. Since gender equality improves the quality of democracy, the parliamentary oversight of gender equality is a key aspect of modern parliaments and a fundamental contribution for the achievement of sustained democratic practices.
Against this backdrop and to contribute to the forthcoming second Global Parliamentary Report on Parliament's power to hold government to account: Realities and perspectives on oversight - a joint publication of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) - iKNOW Politics is moderating an e-Discussion on 'Parliamentary Oversight of Gender Equality'. The e-Discussion runs from 25 January - 28 February 2016 and seeks to highlight the willingness and capacity of parliaments to keep governments accountable
on the goal of gender equality and ensure parliamentary oversight is gender-sensitive, as well as the opportunities available to both women and men parliamentarians to engage in oversight. One of the main objectives of this e-Discussion, thus, is to find best practices that will help to strengthen external accountability and the consolidation of sustained democratic practices.
The conclusions of this e-Discussion will be incorporated into the global report. More information on the report is available at www.ipu.org/gpr2.
iKNOW Politics members (politicians, experts, academics, CSOs, and think tanks) are encouraged to respond with concrete examples, experiences and recommendations to the questions outlined below. Please follow the following steps to send your comment(s):
Please fell free to respond to as many, or few, questions as you like. There is no requirement to provide responses to all the questions. Please participate by emailing email@example.com or by posting your comments online in the iKNOW Politics forum below.
Please click here to read the full concept note of this e-Discussion.
1. PARLIAMENT MECHANISMS FOR OVERSIGHT
-Has parliament created mechanisms to oversee the government’s gender equality commitments? How effective have they been? What are the reasons for their successes and shortcomings, and what could be improved?
-To what extent does parliament scrutinize the budget from a gender perspective? Are parliamentarians able to hold government to account for the extent to which expenditure has produced results for women and men?
-To what extent does parliament engage with the national reporting process on Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women? Does parliament monitor the executive’s response to recommendations by the CEDAW Committee?
-Is it possible to identify specific outcomes of parliamentary oversight of gender equality? Where a particular result has been achieved, what produced these outcomes?
2. MONITORING OF GENDER EQUALITY
-To what extent does parliament monitor the impact of gender equality / non-discrimination legislation after it has been adopted? Do you have concrete examples how this has been done? What is the role of parliament when legislation is not put into practice, or does not have the intended effects?
3. mEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT EXPERIENCIES IN OVERSIGHT ACTIVITIES
-What can be done to build political will for women and men parliamentarians to engage equally in oversight of gender equality issues?
-Where caucuses of women parliamentarians exist, have they provided effective in building cross-party support for work on gender equality? To what extent have they been able to engage with government and hold it to account?
-How extensively does parliament engage women’s groups outside parliament to support monitoring progress and setbacks with regard to gender equality? What the opportunities to strengthen these partnerships?
-To what extent are parliamentarians supported in undertaking gender-sensitive oversight training, staff, and budgets?
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